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Published Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Finding the Right Hider for Your Piercing

Even though piercings have become more popular and accepted than ever before, there are still settings that encourage you to disguise your piercings. It might be for a school or job dress code or spending time with a family member holding onto old fashioned beliefs, but finding a convenient yet effective method to de-emphasize your piercings is something a lot of us have to deal with on a regular basis.

I’ve seen some guides that recommend using adhesive bandages, often in combination with make-up.  Those techniques might work in the short term, but they’re hardly convenient if your piercing is located in an area where the skin is in regular motion. And wearing a bandage as part of your routine sounds awkward, uncomfortable, and it may draw more attention than wearing your regular jewelry.  Using retainers that help to camouflage your piercings provides a solution that is low maintenance and also allows you to switch into regular jewelry with ease.  They also have the advantage of keeping the piercing open and stretched to your preferred gauge.

Retainers and hiders are available in several materials.  Glass or silicone are common materials, but there are also others like PTFE, Lucite acrylic and even some metals that are a viable option for some piercings.  Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s useful to give the different retainers some thought before choosing the right one for you.  Now, if you’re healing a fresh piercing, it’s usually best to both heed the aftercare advice and continue to wear the jewelry given to you by your piercer.  The irony of having to wait for your piercing to heal before finding a way to hide is not lost on me, but that patience could be key for the long term health of your piercing.  On another health related note, if what you are looking for is information about safe jewelry to wear for medical procedures, we’ve explored some of your best options in this blog post.

For the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on facial and ear piercings.  Most piercings below the neck are hidden by clothing, belly rings being a rare exception depending on your outfit.  But the piercings that we’re most often asked to hide are also the most difficult to conceal.  Below you’ll find some simple tips, tricks and tools to safely and efficiently hide your facial piercings.


We’ve reviewed retainer and hider options specifically for nostril piercings in another blog, but the septum is another nose piercing that needs your attention if you’d like to draw less attention.

A septum piercing makes a bold statement; it’s one of the more “in your face” piercings, but it’s also one of the easiest piercings to conceal when necessary.  You can even hide it with some of your regular jewelry options.  A talon or tusk is going to be pretty hard to hide, but some circular barbells and pinchers can be flipped up so that the ends disappear into your nostrils.  However, if your preferred jewelry size makes that position uncomfortable, there are retainers that work the same way.  These pieces can also be worn flipped down so that the “legs” are exposed, and they’re available in a variety of attractive material options such as glass, titanium or steel.

On the other hand, if you have allergies and try to keep the contents of your nostrils to a minimum, there are also plugs that can be worn to help conceal a septum piercing.  There are single flare plugs with a shorter wearable area that are easy to insert into a piercing that isn’t always stretchy, but they require an o-ring.  Then there are some glass septum plugs made with reduced flares that stay in place without o-rings.  In a pinch, you can also use silicone skin eyelets or hider plugs for the same purpose!

Lip and Mouth Piercings

There are almost as many different locations for lip piercings as there are names for them.  But whether you have snake bites, spider bites, a monroe or a medusa piercing, most can be down-played using the same retainer designs.

Glass retainers are very comfortable and will not irritate your piercing, but they often require a clear silicone o-ring to hold the piece in place.  You can also find clear acrylic retainers made for short term wear.  They have the benefit of being inexpensive and will not break when dropped or from other impacts.  Finally, there are also a few silicone retainer designs that might be easier to blend into your complexion, and they have the extra advantage of sitting flush with your skin.

If you have cheek piercings and those dimples don’t quite hide them enough, a PTFE barbell or flexible labret might be the best tool for the job. While not entirely invisible, they remain more subtle than many common labret and barbell designs.  They can also be trimmed to the perfect length for your needs, and the acrylic balls and discs are easy on the teeth.

Finally, there is the tongue piercing.  This piercing is not usually obviously visible if you don’t want it to be seen, but there are still tongue retainers available if you need to camouflage it in certain circumstances.  For most of us, the tongue is extremely active, and any retainer you choose will need to be able to accommodate its movement. You don’t just need to take into account your ability to speak, but you may need to remain conscious of the hider design when you eat. PTFE barbells are useful for this purpose. They are both flexible and if an acrylic ball is accidentally swallowed it shouldn’t cause any issues. A glass retainer may not be quite as flexible as the prior example, but it is virtually invisible when in place.

Cartilage Piercings

This may go without saying, but if you wear your hair long, keeping it down can cover most of your ear piercings.  However, there are still ways of hiding various ear piercings for those of us with short hair, no hair, or if your hair needs to be pulled back for safety, hygiene, or a uniform requirement.

Like lip piercings, there are a lot of different locations where you can safely have your ear cartilage pierced, and also similar to lip piercings, many of the same retainer designs can be used in multiple locations.  It may be more comfortable to wear jewelry with either a straight post or a curved style depending on where the cartilage piercing is situated. Glass labrets may be the best way to disguise a cartilage piercing in an area where you would normally wear a straight post.  If you wear the clear glass labret with the disc on the front side of your ear, you can even use a small dab of matte fingernail polish on the disc to help conceal the piercing.  Silicone hiders are also a good option if you need to hide a piercing on a flatter area, like your conch, tragus, or a second or third lobe piercing.

If you need to camouflage a piercing with a curved piece, the glass retainers previously suggested for eyebrow piercings are probably your best bet.  These hiders are available in clear or a range of skin tones.  For short term wear, a clear curved acrylic retainer is an inexpensive alternative.

Stretched Lobes

Depending on how large you’ve decided to stretch your lobes, hiding them can be extremely easy, challenging, or almost impossible.  No hider will be able to completely disguise the way stretching your lobes changes the shape of your earlobe.  Depending on your anatomy, many plugs in smaller stretched lobes can pass as regular earrings.  But if you want to hide the piercing completely, or have stretched beyond the point where this illusion works, you might want to try silicone hiders.  They are light, comfortable and affordable; they sit almost flush with your skin and they’re available in multiple skin tones.  

There are also glass hider plugs available if that’s the material you prefer to wear.  They are easy to put in, comfortable to wear for long periods and extremely easy to clean with soap and water.  They are also available in smaller sizes than their silicone counterparts.  However, the clear back may be visible from certain angles and they have a glossy finish that might draw unwanted attention.

Some piercings are intended to be noticed, especially piercings on your face.  We get them because they are fun, meaningful, beautiful, and we don’t want to hide who we are.  It’s unfortunate that every situation isn’t as accepting of them as we would like them to be, but at least there are a variety of retainers to choose from to suit our needs.  That way, instead of having to compromise and remove them,  we can find the hider that’s safe, comfortable, convenient, and most importantly, temporary.